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DannyMilk
07-04-2010, 10:08 PM
NFC SOUTH (Predictions in parenthesis)
FALCONS (10-6)
With Matty Ice a year wiser, and Michael Turner reportedly back down to around 240lbs and in shape, Atlanta is off to a good start already. Jerious Norwood should look to contribute more on special teams this year after an injury plagued 2009. Look for Roddy White to have another great season, as last year he continued to be one of the best WR in the NFL with 4 100 rec yard games, over 1,000 yards for his 3rd straight season, and 11 end zone dances. The off-season for the Falcons wisely focused on defense, drafting a linebacker in the first round (Weatherspoon), a DT in the third round (Peters), and paying former unhappy Houston Texan Dunta Robinson, making him the 2nd highest paid DB behind the newly rich Nnamdi Asomugha (Harry Caray'd have trouble). Finishing 9-7 was a step back from 2008 (11-5), but Mike Smith has proven he is one of the brightest head coaches in the NFL. I see the Falcons sneaking into the wild card come January as they close the season at home against Carolina.
SAINTS (12-4)
Needless to say, they are not only one of the top teams in the NFC, but in the entire NFL. I see a lot of desire and heart with this Nawlins team, and Drew Brees is finally starting to get some credit. He's one of the most competitive guys in the entire league, so don't look for a let down just because he won the Super Bowl. An interesting fact I looked at was even with winning every game in the playoffs against tough opponents (Cardinals, Vikings, Colts), and scoring 40 more overall points (107) than the 2nd highest points scored total in the playoffs (Colts), they were in the bottom half of all playoff teams somehow when it came to Offensive yard stats and Defensive yard stats. Excluding the last 3 games (all losses) of the regular season, during their 13 game win streak, 7 of those wins came against teams that finished .500 or better. 4 of the other 6 below .500 teams had 10 combined wins on the season. If they continue to average over 400 total yards per game offensively, and with a schedule that includes the weak NFC West and my projected half and half AFC North (+Steelers, Ravens...-Browns, Bengals), the Saints have no excuses not to repeat their regular season performance from last year.
PANTHERS (5-11)
Scrimmages in 2009 for Carolina must have been very interesting, because after 17 weeks, they couldn't stop the rush (22nd), but they were 3rd in rushing behind the monster tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. They couldn't pass the ball (28th), but the Panther Defense was 4th in the NFL in passing yards allowed, only allowing 191YPG. Injuries (WR Smith, LB Davis (probably out for year)) are already problems in Carolina, and with Muhsin Muhammed retiring, and Jake Delhomme being released, the face of the Panthers changes. Matt Moore looks to keep his hot streak going (5 starts, 8TD, 1INT) and beat out ND rookie Jimmy Claussen for the starting job. On a team that already couldn't stop the run, they are now without Julius Peppers, and although they still have Jon Beason and Chris Gamble, I don't see their defense getting off of the field that often. Out of the 16 games they played in 2009, 10 of those games were against teams that finished 9-7 or better. In those 10 games, they went 4-6, however, 2 of those 4 wins came in weeks 15 against Minnesota, and 17 against the Saints, both of whom were already set and ready for the playoffs. In 2010, they face 8 teams that finished 2009 with .500 records or better. Having a weaker defense this year doesn't bode well for Carolina either in 2010. One of the huge problems with that defense was stopping the run, and in 2010, 7 of their 16 games are against teams that ran for 117 yards or more per game last year (Atl(2), NO(2), CIN, CLE, BAL). I don't see John Fox making it through week 8 of the season, and I project a very long campaign for the fans in Charlotte.

BUCCANEERS (4-12)
There's not much to say about the Buccaneers this year. I don't see them being a very good team at all. In 2009, they were in the bottom third in most team statistical categories, and I don't see that changing this year either. I think this team COULD go 3-3 through their first 6 games, but more than likely 2-4, and then I see a tough road ahead with them going 2-8 in their remaining 10 games. The biggest threat to opponents could be the size and speed of their WR core, with veterans Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall, and Reggie Brown mentoring rookie draft picks Arrelious Benn (ILL, 2nd round) and Mike Williams ('Cuse, 4th round).


AFC SOUTH
COLTS (13-3)
Throw all the stats out about the losing SB team not making the playoffs the following year. Every year it seems like a "Pierre Garcon" emerges for the Colts. Garcon and Austin Collie help support veterans Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne. Even with the Colts defense giving up almost twice as many rushing yards as the offense gained, they scored when it counted, and the Colts continue to find a way into the end zone (53 times in 2010 (opponents 31)). Fundamentals are huge key to the Colts continued success, as Manning was only sacked 13 times in '09. In 6 out of the 8 years Freeny's been with the Colts he's had multiple digit sack numbers, including the 2nd most of his career in 2009 with 13.5. Although the Colts were dead last in rushing yards last year, they know that the bread and butter is Peyton Manning passing the ball. 4 of the Colts first 6 games are on the road, with their bye coming week 7, but from there on out their schedule gets progressively easier, seeming to give the staff and roster a chance to rest up for another playoff run assuming they have the division wrapped up by then.

TEXANS (8-8)
Matt Schaub is a year wiser, Andre Johnson is still Andre Johnson, and I expect a huge return to form for Steve Slaton when all is said and done. I really like the Texans, and they may see improvements on the field, unfortunately for them, they play in the AFC, and the Colts will continue to haunt them this year. Even though it's a very average division, the Texans were 1-5 last year in the South. They're probably looking at another around .500 season, but they will fight every single team they face all 4 quarters. If Slaton can pick up the slack coming out of the backfield, they have a chance to surprise some people, but until they get over the hump, I'm not quite ready to jump on the bandwagon, even though I'll chase it down the block. And for all you fantasy players out there, let's not forget The Texans, not the Colts, Saints or Patriots, the TEXANS had the most passing ypg in 2009. I think this team could be one year away from not only breaking into the playoffs, but having a regular 2011 season similar to that of a San Diego Charger 2009 campaign.

TITANS (6-10)
Chris Johnson wants to be the best. A lot of people think he will be. I'm not QUITE sold, although barring injury I do see him remaining in the top 5 in all offensive stats for backs. Off the field issues seem to be plaguing the Titans of late, and if they don't clear that up before the season starts, they're in for a long ride. The Tennessee front 4 were able to stop the run, but the secondary didn't help, giving up the 2nd most passing yards in the league in 2009 (259 ypg) despite Cortland Finnegan's effort, tallying 63 tackles and 5 INT (1TD). Jeff Fisher is back for his 16th year with the Titans, the longest tenure with same team in the NFL, and with good reason. Fisher's Titans have only finished under .500 4 times in that span. After the Titans got embarrassed 59-0 in Foxborough, the Titans head coach used the following bye week to regroup and win 5 straight. One of the main problems I have with the Titans is the fact that their leading receiver last year was Kenny Britt, and while I understand most of the offense was Chris Johnson (something sick like 53%), Nate Washington NEEDS to step up this year. I understand that Vince Young is a winner (26-12 when starts games in NFL), but I don't see this team competing in 2010 for a WC spot. With one of the tougher road schedules in the league (NYG, DAL, JAC,SD,MIA,HOU,KC,IND) it will be tough for the Titans to get any momentum going like they did in weeks 8-12.

JAGUARS (6-10)
Very much like the rest of their division, they just don't quite have enough to get it done this year. While they will play teams tough, the only real reason anyone will be watching the Jags this year are Jacksonville residents and the proud fantasy Papas of MJD. 6 of the Jags 9 losses came in weeks 1-2 & 14-17. Not a good start, and very little to build on at the end of '09, granted 3 of the last 4 teams they faced were the Dolphins, Colts, and Patriots. David Garrard has not been able to get anything going, Mercedes Lewis has only 7 career TD receptions in 4 years, and both have been disappointments to say the least. Mike Sims-Walker's situation is a lot like Andre Johnson's in Houston, and he busted out towards the end of the season, but with little help in his receiving core, I don't see him catching 63 for 869 again. If the Jags look headed to their 3rd straight sub .500 season, I wouldn't be surprised if he is relieved of his duties around their bye week (9). There's a good chance of this happening, as the Jags first 4 weeks will be a tough test, opening at home against Denver, going to SD week 2, then coming back to the aptly titled Jacksonville Municipal Stadium for back to back games against the Eagles and Colts.

Andy Freeland
07-04-2010, 10:50 PM
Wow, you're tough. 6-10 for the Titans? I see the Titans as a much better team than the Jaguars. I'm going 9-7 in Tennessee, 4-12 in Jacksonville.
I also think the Panthers, with their running game, could win 7 or 8 if they get anything from one of their QBs, but your 5-11 is pretty good if they don't (and that's probably a better bet).
I'm also giving the Falcons 11, I really like them this year.

another great post.

DannyMilk
07-04-2010, 11:13 PM
I think the Titans are just a weird team to judge all around. When you look at Vince Young and Chris Johnson, and the receivers they have, it looks promising, I just don't see it happening. Maybe 7-9, and of course everything depends on injuries. The Panthers are iffy to judge too because we only had a little over a month to find out who Matt Moore is. The personnel of the "Salty because we don't have Peppers" Panthers I feel changed the most this year, at least in the category of drama. Muhammed retires, Peppers leaves and comes home :) (seriously, so happy to have him here in the Chi), and Delhomme gets cut...those 3 were the face of the franchise for the most part the past decade, along with Steve Smith, who just so happens to want the flag more than his teammates. I just think too many things can go wrong, and will go wrong, and who knows, maybe Claussen comes in by week 12 just to get experience if they are that far out of the wild card.

And as for the great post part, I'm new at this sort of thing for the most part, so thanks a lot, because for as many compliments as I've been getting, my top D poll is apparently for the forum to poop on, Triumph style.

Andy Freeland
07-04-2010, 11:21 PM
You know football and quote Triumph, you're my kind of guy.

The Titans defense bothers me. They were 28th last year (thanks in no small part to the Patriots). The Haynesworth move was the rare transaction that devistated 2 teams. Now Vanden Bosch is gone too. Derrick Morgan is a good player, but he's just one guy and a rookie guy at that. I still like them and think they have a shot at the wild card, but they're going to have to do it on offense (i.e. Chris Johnson).

msclemons
07-04-2010, 11:32 PM
I think you might have the Saints ranked too high Danny. The offense with Brees will continue to be great but the defense thrived on turnovers and that sort of luck doesn't tend to carry over season to season. The NFC south could end up being a tight race between the Saints and Falcons.

The rest of your picks seem spot on, nice work on evaluating the divisions.

Andy Freeland
07-04-2010, 11:38 PM
I saw a great article a couple of years ago that showed exactly what you just said, turnovers don't follow defenses. The only statistical link was between turnovers and quarterbacks, and of course the defenses lucky enough to play against those quarterbacks.

But I still think 12 wins is a pretty good guess for Brees and company.

DannyMilk
07-04-2010, 11:45 PM
I wonder what the odds in Vegas are for which receiver/CJ on the Titans finishes with the most rec/yardage. On their roster, it states they have 10 Active WR, so I don't think they have a clue yet. I liked Nate Washington, I completely don't remember all that much of Kenny Britt, Justin Gage is inconsistent...I'm gonna take Nate, but WHO KNOWS!?!?!?

davethepanther
07-05-2010, 12:48 AM
1st of all, I see why you HATE on the Panthers since your Bears get thrashed everytime we play them. Enjoy the part time effort from JP.
2nd you post a whole lot of Negative and not much positive about this team. This team got young and is stilll loaded with Talent. A far cry from 5-11. The 4-7 Jake Delhomme Panthers could not compare to the 4-1 Matt Moore Panthers. Had John Fox pulled the plug on Jake earlier in the Season the Panthers would have made the Playoffs.

5-11 for the Panthers? The Minnesota game you blew off as "already in the Playoff" had Minnesota won that game and Carolina defeated New Orleans then the Vikings would have had home field advantage. Clearly not a game they wanted to lose. The Giants lost their playoff chances with their loss and their final game in Giant Stadium.

The defensive line was a problem all season but not many teams would have finishes 8-8 when 4 defensive linemen went on the DL. Thomas Davis injury hurt but one of the Panthers Strength is the LB Corp. There are many options for the LB crew all will keep this our strongest asset. The Defense will be much MUCH better than your prediction. In fact our DE's will make up for the part time talent of JP.

Stand By the offense is going to be totally different than last season. Losing Moose will not be an issue. LaFell or Jarrett will fill in perfectly for Moose and Edwards is going to be in the talk of ROY.. Your only Positive comment "Monstrous Running Game of D'Will and Stewart" add the New WR Corp and a Solid Matt Moore. This team is going to be MUCH MUCH Better than 5-11.

5-11... Answer me this question. When was the last time John Fox finished with Double Digit Losses?

Chilly
07-05-2010, 12:49 AM
AFC South thoughts
1. The Colts are built to repeat and even surpass there accomplishments from last year. This is not your ordinary 'Super Bowl loss hangover' team. Look for them to vanquish that label and easily win this division again.
2. The Texans should once again be a difficult team to beat each week, but until they find a solid running game and/or reliable short passing game, they will lose a couple games each season that they shouldn't. Thus, a team that should finish 10-6 or 9-7 will find itself squarely mediocre once again.
3. Picking the Titans solely because of Chris Johnson doesn't make much sense, as they don't have a great defense to go along with their star back. Finishing at 8-8 would be pretty good for this team until they establish some versatility in their offense.
4. The Jaguars aren't very good, and another bad draft won't help that. Neither will a poor coach.

NFC South
1. The Saints may not threaten to go undefeated again, but they will once again be a force. 11-5 at worst.
2. With a healthy Michael Turner and a resurgent Leaf, I don't see how the Falcons miss the playoffs.
3. If Matt Moore plays as well as he has in each of the past two seasons when he has had the chance to start, this could be a team that scares opponents. If Clausen takes the reins, then I think you might be looking at a really bad team, though.
4. Tampa Bay...oh well.

DannyMilk
07-05-2010, 03:17 AM
1st of all, I see why you HATE on the Panthers since your Bears get thrashed everytime we play them. Enjoy the part time effort from JP.
2nd you post a whole lot of Negative and not much positive about this team. This team got young and is stilll loaded with Talent. A far cry from 5-11. The 4-7 Jake Delhomme Panthers could not compare to the 4-1 Matt Moore Panthers. Had John Fox pulled the plug on Jake earlier in the Season the Panthers would have made the Playoffs.

5-11 for the Panthers? The Minnesota game you blew off as "already in the Playoff" had Minnesota won that game and Carolina defeated New Orleans then the Vikings would have had home field advantage. Clearly not a game they wanted to lose. The Giants lost their playoff chances with their loss and their final game in Giant Stadium.

The defensive line was a problem all season but not many teams would have finishes 8-8 when 4 defensive linemen went on the DL. Thomas Davis injury hurt but one of the Panthers Strength is the LB Corp. There are many options for the LB crew all will keep this our strongest asset. The Defense will be much MUCH better than your prediction. In fact our DE's will make up for the part time talent of JP.

Stand By the offense is going to be totally different than last season. Losing Moose will not be an issue. LaFell or Jarrett will fill in perfectly for Moose and Edwards is going to be in the talk of ROY.. Your only Positive comment "Monstrous Running Game of D'Will and Stewart" add the New WR Corp and a Solid Matt Moore. This team is going to be MUCH MUCH Better than 5-11.

5-11... Answer me this question. When was the last time John Fox finished with Double Digit Losses?


Well, this is what this site is all about. It's my prediction, I looked through their schedule, and that's how I feel about this team. Another positive is that they do have momentum going into this year. I'm not a Panther hater by any means, just my prediction for the year. I hate the Dolphins, I've never liked them, even despite how hilarious Ace Ventura is, but I have them as a much improved team and a force in the AFC East, so I don't hold grudges against teams. We shall see at the end of the year, and by all means, feel free to take a poop on my page when it happens! haha